Monday, April 9, 2012

I Talk To Turkeys

Tonight, I'll screw with a jinx and see what happens. Last night, lying in bed trying to get my brain to feel as tired as my body, I thought of a poetry idea. A student asks, "Master, what is the correct way to bow?" Lying in bed with drops in my eyes (the air out West is dry, don't you know) I knew it was too late to get up and write. My friend was asleep and I didn't want to disturb him. So I wrote the thing in my head, composing and rewriting as I went.

A few words about composing in my head. It's the easiest thing to do. Separated from a keyboard or pen, every word sounds perfect, poetic even. Doing it I know for sure that I'm writing gold. I'm composing the best words of my career! Such conclusions are easily reached when there is no evidence to the contrary, nothing written down.

With this excitement comes an accompanying fear which is stated simply as, "there is no way in hell that I will ever remember a single word of this."

I woke this morning and got ready for breakfast and another hike in Zion without a second's thought to the poem I had composed the night before. I had a great breakfast, an even better Americano, and headed out for a great hike. At one point as my friend was setting up a photography shot during our hike, I remembered: "Master, what is the correct way to bow?" I had nothing to write on. Best I could do was to turn my camera on myself and recite the damn thing into it. I wasn't willing to suffer through a viewing of that later. So, picking up where I left off the night before, I composed in my head again. It still sounded great! But now, I realized that I didn't have an ending. I worked on that a while, sitting atop a boulder in the stream, but no ending came.

Instead, a series of ideas came. Call that first one "The Master and Student" and the second would be "The Master and the Traveller." From there came "The Bird and the Master" and finally "The Master and the Stream." A whole series of poems! I'm a genius!

Here's where the jinx comes in. No one should talk about writing they plan to do. The chances of anything getting written shrink and, even in that odd instance when anything does get written, the result is usually crap. And so, in lieu of any of those poems, I offer the following:

I Talk to Turkeys

In the river, as in the bed, I whisper the words like water without any intention to write them down. They move smoothly over rocks. Catch the light of my mind. Paper would ruin this poetry, sucking the mystic energy from it. A computer would cripple it, stealing its very soul. I whisper the poetry of my mind to the wind who withhold its approval. The sun goes behind a cloud. The water, as always, rushes by, too busy to listen to my babble. I saw a turkey today, puffed out and giant, and I know for sure that he would appreciate unwritten poetry. He would sit and listen. Light a tiny cigarette. Pour himself a drink. When I was done, he would say, Brian, God damn it, that was beautiful. Whatever you do, the turkey would tell me, stubbing out a half smoken cigarette and hoisting his glass to me, don't ever write that shit down, you'd ruin it. Turkeys, puffed out turkeys anyway, they get me. They dig what I do. And they almost never ask me to write anything down.

And to that bit of creative genius, I say, gobble-gobble and the turkey says, write on.